The Washington Post issued a lengthy correction after published audio revealed it misquoted former President Donald Trump regarding his phone call with Frances Watson, the chief investigator of the Georgia secretary of state’s office.
The report, first published in January, accused Trump of telling Watson to “find the fraud” and lauding her as “a national hero” if she was able to find any. While the audio did show Trump claiming he won the 2020 election and suggesting Watson would be “praised” after the “right answer” was revealed, The Post’s original quotes turned out to be fake news.
“Correction: Two months after publication of this story, the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording of President Donald Trump’s December phone call with the state’s top elections investigator,” The Post’s article now reads at the top of the story. “The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump’s comments on the call, based on information provided by a source. Trump did not tell the investigator to ‘find the fraud’ or say she would be ‘a national hero’ if she did so.”
“Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find ‘dishonesty’ there,” the correction continued. “He also told her that she had ‘the most important job in the country right now.'”
— Joe Gabriel Simonson (@SaysSimonson) March 15, 2021
The Post noted that both its headline and text of the original article were “corrected to remove quotes misattributed to Trump.” Additionally, the publication wrote a subsequent story about the recording.
The newspaper’s incorrect quotes were attributed to an anonymous source back in December. Audio of Trump’s phone call with Watson came about after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis announced a criminal investigation surrounding the former president’s aim to overturn the 2020 election results. (RELATED: Georgia Secretary Of State Suggests Trump Could Face Criminal Probe For Phone Call)
Because of the criminal investigation, Willis requested that state officials keep documents that may relate to “an investigation into attempts to influence” the 2020 election, The New York Times previously reported.
CNN also published an article alleging that Trump urged Watson to “find the fraud,” citing “a source with knowledge of the call” and The Post. CNN updated its article with an editor’s note Monday afternoon.
While CNN and The Post originally reported that state officials deemed it unlikely the call with Watson was recorded, the recording was ultimately found in Watson’s trash folder, according to the Washington Examiner. The audio was first published by The Wall Street Journal on March 11.
CNN, like The Post, published a subsequent report early Monday morning based on the audio found in the trash folder.
Editor’s Note: After publication of this article, CNN added an editor’s note, saying that the article had been updated after incorrectly “paraphrasing” Trump’s “comments to the Georgia elections investigator as direct quotes.”